Health  

Blood Donor InformationLast Updated 11 Jan 2024

BLOOD DONOR GUIDELINES

Traditionally in North Cyprus, it is the responsibility of the patient to find friends and family to donate blood in the case of any surgery.

In emergency situations, the hospital will request blood from the State Blood Bank in Lefkosa and the patient should arrange for replacement blood to be donated by friends and family post-operation. It is not necessary to replace all the blood with the same blood group as the patient; it is the replacement of the same number of units which is important.

In the case of elective or planned surgery, it is the responsibility of the patient to arrange for donors to donate at either Girne State Hospital Blood Bank or Lefkosa State Hospital Blood Bank. The blood donor will need to state the name of the patient and the hospital they are in when they donate; this should be BEFORE the surgery is required. In this case it is preferable to find people of the correct blood group.

The main Lefkosa Blood State Bank is always short of blood. Please do not underestimate the importance of donating blood; it literally could save a life. 

Please also help by informing friends and family of the need for donors and encourage them to register with us (see below).

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Information on Donating Blood

In North Cyprus both sexes can donate every four months.

At the State Hospitals, the age limit for regular donors is 68; the age limit for first time donors is 65 or 67 depending on the hospital. The BRS is currently undergoing discussions with the Health Department to raise the age limit for donors.

At Private Hospitals, the age limits can vary considerably down to 60 in some cases. You should check with the hospital first.

You can donate at Girne State Hospital Mondays and Thursdays between 7am and 1pm or the Lefkosa Blood Bank Monday to Friday between 8am and 1pm. If you live to the east of TRNC you can also donate at the new Famagusta State Hospital between 9am and 2pm, Monday to Friday.  

Donating blood takes approximately 20 minutes. The technician will first check your blood pressure and haemoglobin count, and provided these are within the specified health limits, you can donate.

To register with us as a donor, please use the contact page with your name, home location, mobile telephone number, email address and date of birth. If you know your blood group, please also advise then or after your donation.

Unfortunately the new Government residency on line system does not recognise blood donations made through the year as part of residency requirements, as it had done in the past for those under 60 years of age or requiring a test for other reasons.

If you have any queries, please use the contact page and select Chair to send it to. 

PLEASE REGISTER AND HELP SAVE A LIFE!

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Health Matters in the TRNCLast Updated 14 Jan 2024

Although there is NO equivalent to the National Health Service in the TRNC, there are plenty of good doctors, dentists and hospitals, both state and private, along with other health professionals who provide a good to excellent standard of care but it is different from what you would expect in the UK.

Private Medical and Dental treatments are at the cost of the patient and charges vary from one practitioner to another.

The BRS has negotiated discounts with some hospitals for its members and you need to present a valid BRS card to obtain this. Please login and see the members section for full details.

One of our Discount Partners is Azant Insurance, who work with Zirve Sigorta to provide Health Insurance.  It is now possible to purchase Emergency Stability Health Insurance for our members up to 85 years of age.

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It’s worth noting that you will be expected to pay your hospital bill in full when you are discharged. Bear in mind if paying by debit card or withdrawing cash from a cash machine that most banks set a daily limit on how much you can have per day and your hospital bill is likely to exceed this! When being admitted for a procedure you should take your passport with you as the hospital holds this and returns it to you on discharge, when you have settled your bill.

ALWAYS ask about the cost of treatment before you agree to go ahead with it and ask for something in writing. It is advisable to get a second opinion on what is being recommended as well as getting alternative quotes.

As members know there has sometimes been a dispute on the discounted price as there has been no written agreement with the patient. Some hospitals have agreed on a formal terms and conditions document that will hopefully clarify matters for all parties. Please see discount list.

Doctors and Dentists issue prescriptions but such medicines are payable at cost by the patient. If you are receiving a regular prescription in the UK please take care to check the availability and cost of any medicines you may require.

A British citizen, with an up to date European Health Insurance Card, visiting Cyprus as a tourist, can be treated in a Republic of Cyprus state (not private) hospital or you can choose to seek and pay for private treatment in South Cyprus. There are restrictions on this and for full details on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), see the relevant section.

The main hospitals frequently provide health prevention screening packages, which offer a raft of investigations at a much-reduced price. There are differing opinions on health screening, some say it throws up ‘conditions’ that require further investigation that turn out to be benign and need to treatment, causing unnecessary stress and worry. The other opinion is that finding and diagnosing conditions such as pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiac issues etc. mean they can be treated sooner and prevents complications that can arise if left untreated. In addition, early cancer detection is a lifesaver!

We will endeavour to inform our members of any packages that are being offered at a discounted rate.

GP Clinics

In recognition of the GP led service that many expats are used to, some hospitals and clinics have set up a system whereby you can ‘register’ with them and they offer GP style clinics with referral to a specialist as required. Specialist referrals are often next day or within the same week. You can register with as many clinics as you like!

The number of hospitals providing this service is increasing an you may wish to enquire at your nearest provider.

Ambulances

Most of the Private Hospitals have their own ambulances and they will take you to their own Accident and Emergency. (A&E) The most commonly used numbers to ring are;

Near East / Dr Suat-Gunsel          153

British Kolan                                  0392 680 8080

State Hospital Ambulance             112

Be aware that there is no postcode generated satellite navigation system nor freely available street maps so you may need a friend to meet with the ambulance and guide it to you, if you are not near to a well-known location.

State Hospital A&E - Many minor injuries are treated quickly and without cost in the emergency room of the state hospitals. It is local practice that the first port of call during an illness is the local pharmacist who provides free advice, or will recommend a visit to a doctor.

Hospital details

Here are details of some of the more commonly used hospitals:

  • Baskent Hospital Lefkosa - 0392 223 6695 / 0392 223 6588
  • British Kolan Hospital - The main hospital is based in Lefkosa and this is where surgery would be done. https://www.kolanbritish.com/home/ 0392 680 8080 In addition there is a clinic in Kyrenia
  •  Etik Hospital Lefkosa - 0392 223 4694, 223 4764; 2236328 http://www.etikhastanesi.com/
  •  Guven Hospital Ankara with Girne Office - Yasmin Çaliskan: 0533 842 7349
  •  Kamiloglu clinic and hospital Girne 0392 815 3282
  •  Medical Port Tunççevik Hospital 0392 815 0800 http://www.medicalporttunccevik.com/en/. It can be found on the Bellapais Road just before Altinkaya Resort.
  • Near East Hospital – The large hospital site is based in Lefkosa http://neareasthospital.com/?lang=en but there is also a clinic/hospital based in Kyrenia in the Karakum area. https://neu.edu.tr/dr-suat-gunsel-hospital-now-in-service/

There are a number of other hospitals and we have just listed the ones our members have tended to use. Details of hospitals in other areas of North Cyprus will soon be added.

Pharmacies

There are numerous pharmacies in North Cyprus and most of the pharmacists and staff speak English. As in the UK they can help with minor illnesses and recommend treatments or where appropriate, advise you to seek medical attention. The Cyprus Today newspaper, which is printed every Saturday, has a list of duty pharmacies that are open. 

Nursing Care/Home Care

Standards of nursing care are quite different here to the UK. In the State Hospital it is relatives and friends who are expected to provide the nursing care.

The private hospitals do have nurses who provide the care, most of whom have been trained in Turkey. Standards of care can be variable.

On discharge from hospital if you require help with basic chores and or basic hygiene, dressings etc, some Hospitals offer a domiciliary service at an hourly rate. Again this may vary. This includes travel time and fuel costs. They can provide purely 'domestic' duties, basic hygiene, providing lunch, light housework etc. If nursing care is required, such as injections and dressings etc this can also be provided. Again, We  would urge full clarification on requirements and costs.

For respite care or end of life care etc. Dr. Suat Günsel Hospital of University of Kyrenia offer a "Geriatric Service" where a person can stay with them 24/7. This includes the room, basic nursing care and all meals. Any additional requirements need to be discussed and costs obtained. Please note there are no communal facilities here and most patients that take up this service spend the majority of time in their rooms. This can be used for a variety of reasons, e.g. respite care, end of life care or for a longer stay following surgery. If it is for less than a month then it should be a pro-rata charge. We cannot stress enough that you discuss exactly what you require and ascertain costs and that if the hospital fee additional chargeable services are required at any stage that the hospital discuss this with the bill payer before initiating them.

In addition, there are a number of individuals who have a care or nursing background who offer domiciliary care. We are unaware of any checks on their qualifications, but do know people have used them and been satisfied.

The KOLAN British Hospital has now introduced Private Nursing Home Care Packages available now:
Please click here for details.

Assisted aids

The BRS hold some mobility aids such as wheelchairs and walking sticks that can be borrowed by members on a short term basis. Contact the BRS Chairman for further information.

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COVID VACCINATIONSLast Updated 21 Feb 2024

Recently the TRNC Government have announced that vaccinations for vulnerable groups is being recommended.  Currently the COVID vaccination is the only one which is being issued free of charge by the Government.  Other vaccines such as Influenza, Shingles, Pneumonia and others are available through pharmacies and Medical Centres, but there will be a charge for these.

COVID VACCINATION PROGRAM

Statement from the Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health recommends that Covid-19 booster dose vaccinations should be given to those who meet the criteria mentioned below.

•    Persons over 65 years of age
•    People with high-risk Chronic Disease (people with low lying lung, kidney, heart, neurological diseases, people who use drugs that suppress the immune system for a long time, diabetics, HIV patients)


Applications can be made to our Health Centres listed below as of Monday, January 29, 2024

• Esentepe Health Centre
• Serdarli Health Centre
• Ge Meritkale Wellness Centre
• Iskele Health Centre
• Güzelyurt Health Centre
• Akdogan Health Centre
• Maras Health Centre
• Lapta Health Centre
• Çamlibel Health Centre
• Dipkarpaz Health Centre
• Mehmetcik Health Centre
• Yenierenköy Health Centre
• Train Health Centre
• Dikmen Health Centre
• Girne Akçiçek Hospital
• Cengiz Topel Hospital

•    Covid-19 (Comirnaty-Original/Omicron BA - Pfizer) in vaccinated or unvaccinated children aged between 5 – 11 years of age. It is recommended to take a single dose of 4.5) vaccine.
•    Covid-19 (Comirnaty Omicron XBB) for those who are previously vaccinated or unvaccinated over 12 years of age. It is recommended to take a single dose of 1.5) vaccine.
•    Vaccination for 5-11 years old will be carried out at the Children's Vaccination Clinic of Emergency Hospital. Those who want to have it done must again apply to the Emergency Hospital Children's Vaccination Clinic.
•    It is recommended to repeat the vaccine after 3 months in acute Covid-19 infection cases.(When notified)

For those members who have previous Vaccination ‘cards' we would advise you to produce them when you attend a vaccination centre to make an appointment

MINISTRY OF HEALTH – WEARING OF MASKS

In line with the COVID vaccination program the Health Ministry announced the following:

The Health Ministry which have issued guidelines for the wearing of masks.  These instructions are in line with those currently in place in the UK and the EU.

Should there be a change to any of these instructions we will inform you immediately.

Decisions Taken by the Supreme Committee on Infectious Diseases 

1.    It is mandatory for people with complaints of upper respiratory tract to wear masks. In addition, people visiting nursing homes, hospitals and prisons, nursing home workers and those working in the care of patients over 65 MUST wear masks.
2.    Especially at-risk people (people over 65 years old, people with low lung, kidney, neurological diseases, people who use drugs that suppress the immune system for a long time, diabetics, HIV patients, children under 5 years old) should get tested and consult their doctors in case of upper respiratory tract infection. 
3.    Disease reports of patients who have complaints of upper respiratory tract and who have been examined by their doctors will be provided if necessary, by the physician they are attending.
4.    Frequent ventilation of indoor spaces (classrooms, restaurants, gyms, etc.) Places) is required.
5.    Personal hygiene rules must be followed.
6.    According to the recommendation of the laboratory committee, any diagnostic testing kits (Covid-19, other viral tests, etc.) used in our country.) require a CE-IVD certificate.

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State Healthcare and InsuranceLast Updated 8 Mar 2024

EMERGENCY AMBULANCES
We were recently made aware of a member who required an ambulance for her partner during a health emergency.  Instead of calling 112 (State Ambulance Service) she called another number which resulted in her partner being taken to a Private Hospital.  Unfortunately, this resulted in costs which they have struggled to pay.

If you have Residency or have applied to renew your permit, then you are covered by the State Health Insurance which is mandatory, which will mean you will be taken to a State Hospital, but the insurance means your costs to make the patient stable will be minimal in comparison. (Please see below)

It is also important to note that should you call 112 and are taken to a State Hospital but they do not have capacity to treat you or your partner/family member, then you will be transferred to a Private Hospital BUT the State Health insurance will cover those costs.

Below is the actual cover provided by the State Health Insurance.  We were provided with the document in Turkish and this is a certified copy of that document.

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HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE (Compulsory for residency visas)

For Foreign Nationals with an Immigration Permit  Foreign nationals, who have paid the premium determined in accordance with Article 11 of the National Health Insurance Scheme, can benefit from health examination and treatment services carried out in the emergency services free of charge. However, all other public health services, excluding the emergency health treatment services carried out after the necessary examination and diagnosis in the emergency services, including consumables, polyclinic services, laboratory and examination services, public pharmacies, drug supply services, all kinds of inpatient treatment services, any paramedical services and any other public health services offered can be used at full cost. The scope of emergency treatment services as per Article 11 of the National Health Insurance Scheme is as follows:

  1. Drowning
  2. Traffic Accident
  3. Suicide Attempt
  4. Rape
  5. Fall
  6. Injury/ limb rupture
  7. Electric shock
  8. Freeze
  9. Cold Shock
  10. Heat Shock
  11. severe burns
  12. Serious Eye injuries
  13. Poisoning
  14. Serious allergy anaphylactic situations: Severe allergy or low blood pressure that may lead to impaired heart rhythm, respiratory tract obstruction.
  15. All kinds of spinal fractures of the spine and lower extremity fractures, which cause large external or internal bleeding.
  16. Decompression (diver's disease) situation commonly known as ‘crippled by the bends’ 
  17. MI, Arrhythmia hypertension crises: Heart attack, types of heart rhythm disorders that require urgent treatment, brain pressure, hemorrhage etc. rising to a degree that can lead to serious outcomes
  18. Asthma crisis, acute breathing problems
  19. Any situation that causes loss of consciousness
  20. Sudden strokes
  21. Serious general condition disorder
  22. High fever: poisoning, infectious diseases, heat stroke, etc. If the average body temperature is 39.5 C or above.
  23. Diabetic and uremic bleeding: conditions that may start from confusion caused by diabetes and kidney failure to complete loss of consciousness (coma).
  24. Dialysis disease accompanied by general condition disorder
  25. Acute abdomen: Perforation, hollow or knotted inflammation of hollow organs such as stomach intestine, etc. situations requiring urgent intervention.
  26. Acute massive hemorrhages: Life-threatening internal or external bleeding, usually caused by trauma.
  27. Meningitis, encephalitis, brain abscess
  28. Renalcoholic: A condition that causes severe pain that may lead to urinary tract or kidney damage caused by renal calculus.
  29. Acute psychotic pictures: Neurological or psychological discomfort.
  30. Migraine and/or vomiting, loss of consciousness, headaches.
  31. Discomfort due to delirium tremens.
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Access to NHS Care in the UKLast Updated 12 Jan 2023

In April 2015, changes were made to the way the NHS charges overseas visitors for NHS hospital care. These changes also affect some former residents of the UK. The changes were made so that the NHS does not lose out on income from migrants, visitors and former residents of the UK, who may be required to pay for their hospital treatment costs while in England.

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Within England, free NHS hospital treatment is provided on the basis of someone being ‘ordinarily resident’. It is not dependent upon nationality, payment of UK taxes, national insurance contributions, being registered with a GP, having an NHS number or owning property in the UK. The changes which came into effect from April affect visitors and former UK residents differently, depending on where they now live.

Treatment in A&E departments and at GP surgeries remains free for all.

“Ordinarily resident” is a common law concept interpreted by the House of Lords in 1982 as someone who is living lawfully in the United Kingdom voluntarily and for settled purposes as part of the regular order of their life for the time being, with an identifiable purpose for their residence here which has a sufficient degree of continuity to be properly described as settled.

Anyone who is not ordinarily resident is subject to the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2011.  These regulations place a responsibility on NHS hospitals to establish whether a person is ordinarily resident; or exempt from charges under one of a number of exemption categories; or liable for charges.

Nationality or past or present payments of UK taxes and National Insurance contributions are not taken into consideration when establishing residence.  The only thing relevant is whether you ordinarily live in the UK.

People who live outside the European Economic Area, (EEA), including former UK residents, should now make sure they are covered by personal health insurance, unless an exemption applies to them. Anyone who does not have insurance will be charged at 150% of the NHS national tariff for any care they receive.

For more up to date information go to the Gov.uk web site.

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